Sunday, January 20, 2019

BEAUTY FILE: BEST AND WORST STRETCH MARK CREAMS

Surprise! I'm pregnant. It's a completely new experience for us that has us over the moon with happiness and excitement.  It's the best of times and we have been lucky enough to have had this blessing during the holidays and Christmas. The best.
15 weeks; wearing Annie the Alchemist Estamos Hechos de Estrellas Tee

I just finished my first trimester and starting to show a bit. Based upon mama recs and some reviews, I ordered a few belly creams/ stretch mark creams. I've been testing some out and wanted to share what I've found with you.

Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter: $9.79 available at Amazon and Target. This is the winner for me. It comes in a pretty good sized tub. It's easy to spread, absorbs quickly, and leaves my skin really soft. As a bonus, you can also use it on your legs post-shave, and it will work to hydrate. It has a very mild, almost undetectable scent that does not linger.  The Burt's Bee's Mama Bee Belly Butter is labeled as being 99% natural. It is rated a 2 by the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
Burt's Bee's Mama Bee stretch mark cream
If you are unfamiliar with EWG and EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database  (as I was, until fairly recently,) you will want to go online and browse the site. It's a very handy tool if you are trying to cut out toxic and hazardous chemicals that are contained in every day products. EWG ranks products according to how harmful they are; a level 1 rating being the least harmful, a level 10 being the most. EWG also ranks each individual ingredient contained in a product. It's shocking to see the garbage that's in your foundation, blush, dishwashing soap, mascara, etc. Now that baby is coming, I'm trying to be a bit more cautious. This belly butter fits the bill.

EWG Hazard Rating System

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil
:
$9.69, available at Amazon. I'll admit that Palmer's was the first brand that came to mind when thinking about stretch mark creams. I feel like I grew up watching the Palmer's cocoa butter commercials. I didn't purchase that though. I opted for their Skin Therapy Oil. I like that this product contains Argan oil and vitamin E but dislike the heavy fragrance. EWG ranks this product a 3, with the most offensive ingredient being the fragrance, individually ranked as an 8. Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil contains a strong Rosehip scent. I smell it more than I do any trace of the cocoa butter scent. It also unfortunately lingers.  If you are OK with fragrance, or don't mind this particular scent, you will like this product but for me this was a pass.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter
Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil with Rosehip (strongly fragranced).

Earth Mama Belly Oil: $15.00, available at Amazon, Target and the Earth Mama website.
Earth Mama Organics is a great, natural, plant-based product line. When you look at the ingredients contained in the Earth Mama products, you will be able to easily recognize and pronounce them all. This product is rated a 1 on the EWG website - the lowest toxic and safest designation. It contains a blend of pure organic oils as well essential oils like orange blossom. When first applied, this has an organic, earthy scent which quickly dissipates. The product is quite oily but not sticky or tacky. I apply it post-shower, before bed. It has been one of my favorites, so far.

Earth Mama Belly Oil
Earth Mama Belly Oil - a favorite of mine!

Body Merry Stretch Marks and Scars Defense Oil: $18.99 at Amazon. Contains 6 pure oils, natural and organic. The oil is yellow and leaves a little bit of a yellow tint on the skin. Smells earthy but not overpowering. Does a fantastic job of moisturizing and leaving skin soft and supple. Another great product. 

Body Merry Stretch Marks and Scars Organic Cocoa Butter + Shea Butter: $19.99 on Amazon. While this has very high ratings, is safe and natural, I did not like the tackiness of this. It was sticky and didn't absorb or apply smoothly. It was tough to distribute on the skin. I also did not like the fragrance. This was my least favorite belly butter that I tried.


Mustela Soothing Moisturizing Balm: $23.00 at Nordstrom. Mustela is a French based brand, best known for its line of baby creams and shampoos. This cream goes on really easy. It spreads evenly and absorbs quickly. It would be perfect were it not for the strong smell. At first, I really enjoyed the scent but as it wore, I found it lingered for hours and was ultimately too much. It is safe to use, being categorized as a 1 on EWG.

Bio Oil $23.99: this was highly recommended by many people but I figured, I had so many other options that I didn't need to try this one. Bio Oil contains chamomile, vitamins A, and E, rosemary and lavender oil. Everywhere you check, this product is consistently sold out because everyone seems to love it. People who aren't pregnant use it to fade stretch marks they've had for years. BUT, the more I read about it the more I hesitated. This is ranked as a 7 on EWG, a category which is designated as "high hazard." It contains Benzyl Salicylate which pregnant women aren't supposed to use. It contains Geraniol, which alone, has an overall EWG ranking of 7. The primary ingredient in Bio Oil is mineral oil - a liquid petroleum by-product. Some argue that the amount of these harmful ingredients in Bio Oil is minimal, for me, this was a pass.

Monday, October 15, 2018

BEAUTY FILE: KERASTASE REFLECTION COLLECTION

As a blogger, I am fortunate in that I get to test a ton of beauty and haircare products. Of course, I am always open to trying out new things, but along the way, I have definitely developed some favorites. The Kerastase Reflection line is one of those newly favorited product launches.


When Kerastase reached out, I was eager to see what they recommended for my hair.  A few years ago, I had a bad cellophane treatment that left my hair dry and prone to breakage. In 2017, I reluctantly dyed my hair for the first time, which resulted in my hair turning a shade too dark for my liking. In order to counteract the black shade, I got highlights. The bleach killed my hair.  I've been growing it out ever since, trying to do what I can to restore it.
KERASTASE REFLECTION SHAMPOO

I have been using the Kerastase Reflection line, consistently, for over three months. My hair is stronger, and softer. It also has a lot more shine. I use the Sulfate Free Shampoo for color treated hair and the Reflection Mask. I do use a drugstore shampoo for my first shampoo, then follow it with the shampoo from the line. I leave the conditioning mask on anywhere from 5-10 minutes. I really coat my hair in the mask and use a good amount.  The conditioning mask has lasted me a full three months. I still haven't gone through a full bottle of the shampoo.  These are high end products which are worth the investment.

KERASTASE REFLECTION REVIEW
Natural hair, no product, and air dried after washing / conditioning with Kerastase Reflection Shampoo and Mask
Kerastase is having a sale on their website. You can now get the Reflection Holiday Gift Set for a special price.  The line is carried at my local CVS. Sephora has also recently started carrying Kerastase!

If you have tried these products out, please leave a comment letting me know what your experience has been.

Kerastase sent me the products in the Reflection line. This post is not sponsored. 

KERASTASE REFLECTION MASK

KERASTASE HAIR MASK REVIEW

KERASTASE REFLECTION CONDITIONER
Natural hair, no product, and air dried after washing / conditioning with Kerastase Reflection Shampoo and Mask

KERASTASE REFLECTION RESULTS

Monday, October 1, 2018

TRAVEL DIARY: EAST HAMPTON, NEW YORK

I recently traveled to East Hampton, in New York, for a weekend trip to celebrate a good friend's engagement.  You can read about how we got around, in this post.  Below is a roundup of what I wore, where we ate, and what we saw.  Click below for my Hampton's Travel Guide. 
WHERE TO EAT IN EAST HAMPTON
Finishing the night off right, with a side walk shimmy outside of Lulu's Kitchen and Bar in Sag Harbor.

Where to Stay:
We were a large group so we opted for a 4 bedroom house through Air BNB (5 Longboat Lane) nestled deep in the hills.  Every morning, little deer would graze on our front lawn. The location is remote, with spotty internet and cell phone access which allowed us to disconnect. The area was peaceful and quiet, full of wildlife and beautiful scenery.  We were about a 15 minute drive to town, and Sag Harbor.

What to Do:

  • Sightseeing: Montauk, Sag Harbor, East Hampton are beautiful. I recommend renting a car and just exploring the surroundings. We were very fortunate to have Volkswagen sponsor our ride, and really enjoyed driving the Tiguan through the beautiful neighborhoods. The homes are gorgeous. In town, you'll find a Soul Cycle (of course), a farmer's market, and so much good shopping.  
  • Shopping: if you're a fashion girl you will find all of your faves located along the strip; Zimmerman, Intermix, Tory Burch, Alice Olivia, everything within arm's reach.  
  • Surf Lessons: we also drove to Montauk and took surfing lessons on the beach. We used Corey's Wave. Really nice and patient instructors. 
  • Wildlife: make your way to the Duck Pond. It's a peaceful spot where you can feed the wildlife, walk nature trails and find a bird sanctuary. Be on the lookout for the muskrat! 
  • Hire a Private Chef: it's really nice to stay in from time to time, especially while on vacation! Chef Kevin Des Chenes (Food Network alum) prepared a fantastic lobster and clam bake for us, with all of the trimmings. He was a great sport, and a one-man-show who handled everything from meal prep, plating and cleaning. More pictures of the meal below.

EAST HAMPTON TRAVEL GUIDE
Surfing in Montauk.


Where to Eat: 
Lulu's Kitchen and Bar in Sag Harbor: beautiful restaurant with delicious food and cocktails, friendly/knowledgable staff and a great atmosphere. You know it's good when you see Eric Ripert having dinner with his family and then he graciously drops by your table to congratulate the bride.
What to Eat: have the skirt steak, mussels, roasted cauliflower, and a Spicy Paloma cocktail.

The Lobster Roll: I will admit that I had a total fangirl moment when we stopped at The Lobster Roll on our drive back from surfing. Those of you who are fans of The Affair will recognize this restaurant from the series.
What to Eat: have the puffer fish (seriously amazing - you will not believe how good), fried clams, and a lobster roll, obviously. Skip the Bloody Mary - not the best.

THE AFFAIR
Lobster Roll at the Lobster Roll.

La Fondita Mexican Restaurant: located in Amagansett off of Montauk Highway, this Mexican restaurant came highly recommended but was somewhat of a letdown. Still, I wouldn't say it was bad, but the lines / wait were long and there was nothing I ate that was too memorable. Note: only outdoor seating.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

WANDER BEAUTY

WANDER BEAUTY PRODUCT REVIEWS
Wander Beauty's On The Glow Blush and Illuminator duo. A two-in-one product that's easy to travel with.
The shell is part of the Sunday Forever Witch Kit

WANDER BEAUTY REVIEW
Wander Beauty's On The Glow Blush and Illuminator duo  

Wander Beauty is a new beauty and makeup line that was created by two women, model Lindsay Ellingson and business woman Divya Gugnani, who saw the need to cut down on the amount of stuff they packed when they traveled. They also needed to streamline their busy mornings.  They took this concept, of multi-tasking, no fuss products,  and created Wander Beauty.

Most people like to pack light when they travel; an idea that admittedly, escapes me.  Still, I'm aware that many women need to travel with only the essentials.  When you add a few kids into the mix, keeping things easy becomes even more important.

Most products in the Wander Beauty line are dual sided for this reason.  They are 2 in 1 and easy pack or throw in your purse.  Wander Beauty is cruelty free :) The line is also free of parabens, synthetic fragrance and mineral oil.  They also offer a selection of gluten free products.

You guys, the line is really, really good. I've been using it for over a month and will not go back to another concealer. Read below for product reviews on my faves.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

THE 2018 VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN: THE PERFECT TRAVEL COMPANION


We recently took a trip up through New York, to East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Montauk. The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan accompanied us every step of the way and made for the perfect travel companion.

2018 TIGUAN
The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
Montauk

The Tiguan is VW's version of a compact, cross-over SUV; seating up to seven people when you fully utilize the the third row seating option, (although the last row of seats is much smaller in size and probably more kid friendly than adult friendly.). A variety of driving packages make it a fun car to drive. It boasts a 5-inch color touch screen that was useful on our trip as we navigated the long and windy Hamptons' roads. The Tiguan synchs to your Apple iPhone, and mirrors your phone on the dash, allowing you to select your destination from Maps and access other things like your Contacts.  In addition to Apple CarPlay, it also has Android MirrorLink options. You can also opt to display your text messages or have them read to you so that you can keep your eyes safely on the road. 

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN

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